Sacked in Khashoggi Killing, Saudi Intel Official Was Involved in 2017 Meeting Plotting Against Iran

Saudi FM insists Saudis are 'beacon of light'

In trying to cover up the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudis fired a number of people. One of those sacked for his involvement, Ahmed al-Assiri, was in the US in January of 2017 scheming for a US-imposed regime change against Iran, meeting with then Trump official Michael Flynn and Israeli social media strategist Joel Zamel.

The meeting was already the focus of the Mueller investigation because of Zamel’s involvement in “social media manipulation. Now it’s getting more attention, because the plotting against Iran included a Saudi official implicated by the Saudis in the murder of a reporter.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir is increasingly tying his complaints about international reaction to the Khashoggi murder to the fact that the Saudis are aligned against Iran. In effect, the expectation is that those officials hostile toward Iran, who let’s face it, are legion, should let this slide for the sake of unity.

Jubeir declared Saudi Arabia a “beacon of light” against the Iranian darkness, and suggested the world had to choose between these two versions of the Middle East. The Saudis have always rested assured that whatever they did, their position was secure.

That wasn’t true for Assiri, however, and as the investigation implicates more top Saudi officials, it’s going to be harder and harder for officials to justify embracing them as a “beacon of light” in between murdering journalists and dumping them in the garden out back of the consulate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.